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UNLV Libraries -> Architecture Studies Library -> Collections -> Las Vegas Guides and Collections -> Las Vegas driving tours (self guided)

Self-guided tour #1a: Downtown
Las Vegas (north of Fremont Street)

1. Fremont Street Experience

Back to Self-guided tours of Las Vegas

Map of downtown Las Vegas, north of Fremont Street

2. Neonopolis
3. Las Vegas Downtown Post Office
4. Las Vegas City Hall Complex
5. Municipal Pool at Dula Center
6. Las Vegas Library and Lied Discovery Museum
7. Las Vegas Mormon Fort & Visitor's Center
8. Grant Sawyer State Office Building
9. Westside School
Print driving tour pamphlet: downtown01a.doc Note: to print file choose landscape orientation

1. Fremont Street Experience
Architect(s): The Jerde Partnership
Address: Fremont St. from Main to 4th
Year: 1995

The Fremont Street Experience was an attempt to redevelop and rejuvenate downtown Las Vegas. The popularity of the family-oriented Strip and the aging of downtown casinos kept many visitors away. The addition of the four-block-long, 90-foot-high space frame has transformed Fremont Street into one large casino with a pedestrian mall. Concerts and other events are held at the Experience, in addition to the light show that plays hourly in the evenings. Overall, the project has been considered a success.
Under the frame of the Fremont Street Experience, the El Portal Theatre can be found. The El Portal is a 1928 historical landmark. The bluegreen neon sign can be seen just behind the Trader Bills sign (street address is 310 Fremont St.)

Photo provided by Liz Fuentes (July 2003).


Fremont Street Experience

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2. Neonopolis
Architect(s): RTKL Associates
Address: Fremont between Main and Las Vegas Blvd.
Year: 2002

This $100 million entertainment mall was intended to bring more vitality and development to downtown, but the project has had a troubled past. Multiple anchor tenants backed out of the project until Crown Theaters stepped in. Additionally the underground parking garage has had water leakage problems. The three-level structure features a food court, specialty stores, an art gallery, and the second largest tenant, Jillian's, a bar/bowling alley/pool hall/arcade. Vintage neon signs are displayed in the building's interior courtyard. The complex integrates nicely with the Fremont Street Experience and draws respectable crowds on the weekends. "One of Las Vegas' 10 ugliest buildings"-Las Vegas Weekly, Aug.21-27, 2003.

Photo provided by Liz Fuentes (July 2003).


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3. Las Vegas Downtown Post Office
Architect(s): James A. Wetmore
Address: 301 E. Stewart Ave.
Year: 1931-3

Once the most elaborate building in Las Vegas, the Beaux-Arts classical styling of the post office reflected the taste of the Treasury Department's architects of the 1890s and 1900s. Through its architecture, the three-story, steel-frame building, clad in brick and terracotta, signified its importance as a federal building among a sea of bars and hotels . The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and City of Las Vegas officials have proposed converting the building into a museum or cultural center.

Photo provided by Liz Fuentes (July 2003)

Las Vegas Downtown Post Office
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4. Las Vegas City Hall Complex
Architect(s): Daniel, Mann, Johnson, and Mendenhall and KGA Architecture (addition)
Address: 400 E. Stewart Ave.
Year: 1973 and 2002

The Las Vegas City Hall complex consists of an eleven-story tower with a three-story circular wing surrounding an open plaza. The wedge-shaped tower is clad in marble and glass and considered a good example of 1960s modernist design. The complex has received criticism in the past for turning its back on downtown with the large, blank façade facing south. A recently completed addition by Las Vegas firm KGA Architecture has added much needed office space, a parking garage, and a sky bridge connecting the garage to the building. The addition won a 2003 AIA Nevada Citation award in the Built category.

Photo provided by Liz Fuentes (July 2003).

Las Vegas City Hall Complex
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5. Municipal Pool at Dula Center
Architect(s): Swisher Hall Architects
Address: 431 E. Bonanza
Year: 1999

The Municipal Pool is located within the City's Downtown Redevelopment District and houses a multi-use competition pool, dive tank, exercise room, classrooms, administrative offices, and even a café. The prominent central lobby with projecting roof plane easily marks the entrance. The facility features a passive cooling and heating system because the state energy codes related to the translucent roof and wall panels prohibited the use of air conditioning. Retractable roof panels and roll-up doors can be adjusted to control temperature and humidity.

Photo provided by Liz Fuentes (July 2003). Additional images/information.

Municipal Pool at Dula Center

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6. Las Vegas Library and Lied Discovery Museum
Architect(s): Antoine Predock
Address: 833 Las Vegas Blvd.
Year: 1989

This library was the first in the Library District's efforts to create decentralized branches across the valley that also feature cultural facilities like performance centers or museums. Located across from Cashman Field and the Old Mormon Fort, the odd-looking structure sits on a hill with a commanding view of the valley. The design features a mass of geometric shapes that house different functions; Predock is known for his use of simple, bold forms which are devoid of ornamentation but which include desert-inspired color schemes. Sandstone and concrete were chosen to help deflect the harsh summer heat. This project won a Silver Award in 1991 from The Nevada Contractor.

Photo provided by Liz Fuentes (July 2003). Additional information.

Las Vegas Library and Lied Discovery Museum
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7. Las Vegas Mormon Fort & Visitor's Center
Address: 900 N. Las Vegas Blvd.
Architect: assemblageSTUDIO
Year: 1855, Visitor's Center 2005

The Mormon Fort is one of Nevada's oldest buildings and was constructed by settlers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Located on the Spanish-Mormon Trail, the settlers chose the site because it was close to a good source of water, the Las Vegas Springs. A 10-foot-by-30-foot adobe brick building is all that remains from what once was 150-foot-square walled settlement. The Mormon Fort was added to the state's Historic Register in 1972. A master plan was developed by SEA, Incorporated in 1996 for a State Historic Park at the site.

The Visitor's Center design relies on the typology set forth by the fort - heavy exterior walls surrounding an open courtyard area with programmed spaces attached to the walls. The spaces of the Visitor's Center are aligned along the pre-cast concrete wall and separated from the restroom facilities which form the Bastion of the new complex. Materials were selected based on the original construction techniques and history of the fort. CMU to represent the adobe, post and beam construction, weathered steel to associate the mining of the iron ore by the missionaries and pre-cast concrete to tie the use of the fort as the concrete testing lab for the construction of Hoover

The visitor's center won a 2000 AIA Nevada Design Award and a 2005 AIA Nevada Citation Award .

Photo provided by Liz Fuentes (July 2003).

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8. Grant Sawyer State Office Building
Architect(s): Lucchesi Galati Architects
Address: 555 E. Washington Ave.
Year: 1991

The 240,000 square-foot facility consolidates 30 different agencies under one roof, providing more efficiency and effectiveness for the State. The $29 million project was intended to create an "open-door government feel". To maximize efficiency and flexibility, the various agencies share common conference rooms, hearing rooms, copy areas, restrooms, and break areas. Desert landscaping and walkways surround the building which is located across from Cashman Field and Predock's Las Vegas Library.

Photo provided by Liz Fuentes (July 2003).

Grant Sawyer State Office Building
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9. Westside School (1922)
Architect(s): Allison and Allison
Address: 330 W. Washington Ave.

This Mission Revival style building served both African Americans and Paiute Indian children. The reinforced concrete and stucco structure originally contained two rooms around a gabled entrance. In 1928, two additional rooms were added at the rear of the building. Westside School was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and is now home to KCEP Radio, a public radio station.

Black & White image used with permission of UNLV Libraries Special Collections. Other photographs taken by Paulette Nelson (July, 2004).

images/collage of Westside school
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Anderton, Frances, and John Chase. Las Vegas:A Guide to Recent Architecture. London: Ellipsis London Limited, 1997.
Las Vegas American Institute of Architects Design Awards Archives
Nicoletta, Julie. Buildings of Nevada. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Tour pamphlets prepared May, 2003 by Liz Fuentes, UNLV School of Architecture Graduate Student
Revised 6/04 by Ernie Podaca, UNLV School of Architecture Graduate Student


Monday, 17-Dec-2012 10:50:33 PST
Fremont Street Experience (1995) Neonopolis (2002) Las Vegas Downtown Post Office Las Vegas City Hall Complex Municipal Pool at Dula Center Las Vegas Library and Lied Discovery Museum Las Vegas Mormon Fort Grant Sawyer State Office Building